Why Do You Think the Rescue Bill Failed?

We've heard lots of speculative reasons for the House's rejection of the $700 billion Wall Street rescue bill yesterday:

- Republican leadership couldn't deliver the GOP rank-and-file.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) attack on President Bush alienated wavering Republicans.
- Pelosi couldn't deliver enough Democrats.
- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) mucked things up.
- The plan was not adequately sold to taxpayers, many of whom saw it as a bailout for Wall Street fat cats.
- Lawmakers and taxpayers don't fully understand the gravity of the crisis.

We want to hear your guesses at why the bill was voted down.

We'll post your comments at the end of this item, of course, but will take the best and put them into a new posting later today.


-- Frank Ahrens

September 30, 2008; 1:13 PM ET  | Category:  business
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I think the main reason the bill failed was that, quite simply, congressmen didn't understand the situation we are in. That is a direct failure of our leaders' ability to articulate the consequences to "Main Street."

Posted by: SS in DC | September 30, 2008 1:20 PM

This bill would have passed if the public had been adequately informed of the details, i.e., that the problem was really a crisis of confidence, that if confidence was restored and the market were to rise, many of the institutions that needed help would no longer need it, that when the govenment buys bad debt, it gets the house as well as the debt, that a similar mortgage bailout in the great depression actually made money for the government, etc. This administration has always suffered from a lack of salesmanship, though some people in the media have tried to make up for that problem.

Posted by: Jack on Whidbey Island | September 30, 2008 1:33 PM

I believe the government is using the American public as guinea pigs during this election. They should be ashamed of themselves for playing the public like a chess game while we struggle to make ends meet. I wish someone (in power) would make a move for the US taxpayers, no matter which side they vote for. What happended to our integrity and ethics. They need to rethink these decisions and quickly.

Posted by: patricia zayas | September 30, 2008 1:36 PM

Bush opened his mouth

Posted by: J2 | September 30, 2008 1:37 PM

It's really a combination of all of the above. It wasn't sold. The representatives didn't fully understand how bad it was / is. The president has lost huge amounts of political capital. The candidates are behaving like babies. I think everyone is now realizing, though, that the political games are over and we need to get the right deal done. All of congress--and both candidates--should eat some humble pie and collective recognized how badly they failed yesterday.

Posted by: Andy | September 30, 2008 1:39 PM

It failed because the American people do not want to bailout Wall Street is such haste.

In the midst of this financial crisis, I hope the politicians will take a breath and use their common sense in resolving is matter. Common Sense Regarding The Bailout found at:

Posted by: Nsubuga1 | September 30, 2008 1:40 PM

The bill failed because congressman, while realizing that needed credit would be choked, also knew that big government wasn't beneficial to the American people in the longer run. The system as it exists today did not benefit everyone. And if we voted to perpetuate this current system, we would be voting to continue the current system of shutting some people out of the American Dream. The American Dream was too out-of-reach for far too many Americans. Maybe this experience will put that American Dream back into reach for the majority of us. One congressman expressed the sentiment that if we aren't allowed to fail, then we will not truly experience success either. I think congressman trust their citizens to survive this and work through it.

Posted by: dcp | September 30, 2008 1:41 PM

I think a recent AP breaking news alert is a good example of our Wall Street and DC brethren's mentality:

168 Dead in Stampede
Thousands celebrating a Hindu festival at a Jodhpur temple were panicked by false rumors of a bomb.(AP)

We saw it after 9/11: Pour billions into Homeland Security. Iraq. Flip This House. Pimp my Car. MTV Cribs.

The "best and brightest" have shined their a**es one too many times.

But from George to Robert Mueller to Pelosi and Kerry, they all have trust funds.

No worries, mate. The taxpayer will lend us banks the dough.

That's the problem. It's bipartisan, and the coastal elitism that is bringing heat.

Wall Street, Greenwich, Westchester, Berkeley, Boulder, Buckhead, SoBe, St Simons, the Vineyard, San Fran, Malibu, Hyde Park, and Austin DESERVE a meltdown.

The "talent" and "the increasingly diverse, well-educated, and affluent in the DC area" are matched in stupidity only by their financial cousins.

Posted by: Paulson Doesn't Get It | September 30, 2008 1:42 PM

Frankly, I think the bill should have failed. This economic downturn started with a large number of mortgage defaults. So why would a bill be presented that does not address the root of the problem? A part of the bill needs to incorporate required loan modifications, a moratorium on home foreclosures, etc. Get people into loans they can afford and that will provide all the cash these investment companies need.

Posted by: Jennifer, Washington, DC | September 30, 2008 1:42 PM

I think it failed because the private sector that is responsible has not been asked to chip in and resolve it and everything has been dumped on tax payers.

President Bush's multi billionaire friends who made money hand over fist in these deregulated wall street mortage backed shell games, should bail out the market. Where is their senses of responsibility and conscience and patriotism? Why hasn't Pres. Bush asked them to step up to the plate and stop feeding off the hard earned tax dollars of ordinary people. They are living the American dream and asking us to live the night mare.

There are other sources for the 700 Billion which just are not even being looked at. It is an outrage that we should be rushed into a deal that may not even work and just reduce the value of the dollar to a peso.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2008 1:42 PM

It failed because the AIG Model was not used. Taxpayers want ironclad assurances that the Government will get the long end of the stick.

Posted by: Tony DiStephano | September 30, 2008 1:43 PM

It failed because the taxpayers saw it was a crap deal.

The bill is very flawed and people rejected it as a bad bill that will probably lead to corruption and crony capitalism.

I cannot understand why the Paulson plan is not scrapped and a Swedish type alternative put in place

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2008 1:43 PM

Because there's no transparency. What institutions will get the funds? Based on what figures? What happens to their top management - will they stay? If so, who will oversee their actions? Why would we trust the same people who created this mess? Another thing - is this really the only option? What about nationalizing the failing institutions, as England did? Or allowing the Fed and the Treasury to lend directly to deserving banks and individuals - use a nationalized Fannie Mae for new or refinanced mortgages, for instance?

Posted by: Jane in Texas | September 30, 2008 1:44 PM

Last I checked we were still a democracy. There is a lot of public anger against this bill, so many elected officials would vote for it only if they could explain their votes to their constituents. They were given no help in this. This is when you need a bright president who can convincingly explain an economic crisis to the public. How many non-brilliant (euphemism) presidents can we afford before we suffer some consequences. Post WWII, we are already up to three, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, and McCain has a 48% chance of making it four.

Posted by: MillsLover | September 30, 2008 1:44 PM

I believe the bailout bill failed because the American people simply couldn't stomach the thought of paying for the mistakes of the rich. While we recognize the need for some type of assistance, we need it to provide help to the many homeowners who are also affected. I also believe the days of Americans passively watching our country go down the drain are gone. We recognize our responsiblity to hold those in Congress accountable to make decisions that reflect the will of the people they represent!

Posted by: Shun Strickland | September 30, 2008 1:45 PM

I think one of the big issues continued to be the lack of accountability and negative consequences to Wall Street and other financial (i.e. bank) executives. While the public is smart enough to understand the gravity of the situation, they were just unhappy about the solution proposed. Those folks with 25+ million salaries should not be able to keep their 25,000 sq. ft. homes and multiple cars, etc. when the bill is being picked up by real taxpayers like lawn care guys and food service workers. While the bill was said to limit executive compensation, it was up to the Treasury Secretary to determine what was "reasonable". As a regular old taxpayer I suspect my view of "reasonable compensation" is a little different than the guy who cashed out $100 million to take his current gig. This is NOT the person who should decide. Don't expect taxpayers to be the dumb - Democrat, Republican, or just plain undecided!

Posted by: LM in NC | September 30, 2008 1:45 PM

The plan failed because Joe and Jane called their representatives and let it be known they were opposed to the bailout of worthless assets at higher-than-market prices with their tax dollars by a margin of 100-1. No one trusts this administration or government or Wall Street or the banks. We are in a recession, and we may be headed to something worse. Smell the coffee. But there is no confidence that anything Washington is rushed into doing is going to prevent it. Luckily, this is an election year, and the little guy gets a say no matter the usual fear-mongering. Because politicians fear for their jobs more than anything else.

Posted by: the little guy | September 30, 2008 1:46 PM

In theory, in a free market economy, well-run companies can be expected to go from start-up, to small, to medium-sized, to large-sized company if they so choose. All over various timelines.

This growth is can be facilitated by other companies - and their leaders - within an industry running their businesses in an unsound manner.

So why deny other businesses an opportunity to consider growth if they have earned it? More to the point, why tinker with the free market?

Posted by: Yogi in Canada | September 30, 2008 1:46 PM

As with most complicated political and social issues which face this country, we got this one wrong too because we are a nation of morons, nincompoops and ninnys.
To quote the Baltimore Bard - "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron, just like us." (H.L.Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920)

Posted by: J Daniel Ballard | September 30, 2008 1:49 PM

There are other alternatives ways to deal with this. And Congress needs to seek other opinions.

Posted by: LKAdams | September 30, 2008 1:50 PM

With elections only weeks away, failure of the House to pass the Rescue Bill was to be expected. Democrats were not about to pass the bill without substantial support from Republicans and reap the wrath of their constituents while the Republicans would blame the Democrats for the bill’s passage.

The votes promised by House Republicans did not materialize when the time came to be counted. It was just another Republican gimmick that promised their votes but never intended to deliver hoping instead to wait for the Democrat vote count to reach a majority necessary for passage with a minimum of Republican votes. The twelve Republicans who changed their minds had intended to do so from the very start.

This Republican made financial crisis will probably get worse as the president’s party is frantically trying to pin the blame on the Democrats. Nice try MacCain.

Posted by: Andew H | September 30, 2008 1:50 PM

Katrina II hits Washington Leadership

No new ideas, more band-aid legislation (just to move it off the table), another very disappointing display of NO leadership at the very top of the food chain Bush, Pelosi, Reid, Boehener, and Hoyer for starters. Resignations for all are the order of the day as they refuse to represent the electorate or listen to anyone except the lobbyists and the money changers at the door.

When is anyone in Washington going to accept "Honest Responsibility and Accountability" for their actions and stop the incessant finger pointing as an excuse for their actions?

Truman was correct: "The buck stops here"!

Please grow up Washington and accept accountability or get replaced in the next election cycle.

Posted by: J. Whaley | September 30, 2008 1:50 PM

Is it me, or shouldn't the Congress be in session today after one of the largest financial disasters in history? If it were Christmas or Easter, you know they'd all be working today to resolve this crisis. Its political correctness gone mad!!

Posted by: Just Curious | September 30, 2008 1:50 PM

It's simple, & incredibly revealing at the same time. Voters rejected the bailout and threatened to un-elect seated members of Congress, if they supported the bill. The impending election of the House members forced those in in-play districts, those still competitive (not yet gerrymandered into sure bets for the corrupt incumbent), to align votes to the will of the people, the voters. Wall St. & Bush did not have time to manipulate the complicit media, to generate enough propaganda pressure to beat down nearly unanimous opposition. It's a 1% problem &, altho the pols & professional pundits & that 1% of selfish jerks who hate socialism til they need a socialist bailout are loathe to admit, the Democracy in America still exists, weakened tho it is. They are stunned they couldn't push this through, the way they did when they lied us into Iraq in a war for oil, or into torture as a policy, or spying on US citizens & not prosecuting criminal ATT + telcoms, or any of the other criminals like treasonous Cheney (Plame, etc), Gonzales (DOJ atty firings, etc), Rumsfeld (Abu Ghraib), and on and on..... These scumbags will get a bit of consequences, tho its nothing like what they deserve. In sum > Bailout failing was the will of the American people. God Bless America.

Posted by: artforhumans | September 30, 2008 1:50 PM

The momentum was stopped by Bush/McCain's attempt to bail/involve McCain. Might have been Rove's idea back firing.

Posted by: shhhhh | September 30, 2008 1:51 PM

The American people want a better proposal, demanded it and Congress listened:

*Suspending Mark to Market
*Insurance for the subprime assets
*Increasing FDIC insurance

It is crazy that our President is putting so much fear in Congress and the Public, and all the news is fear based...no wonder the stock market dropped yesterday. However, this is a CREDIT problem...not a stock market problem. The stock market is a confidence issue and you absolutely cannot measure the stock market in one day...it must be measured over a few years.

Yes, we do need to address the issue; however, not at the expense or "investment" of the taxpayer.

Posted by: CBAlexander | September 30, 2008 1:53 PM

To me, it failed, as it should have, because it was rushed to meet an artificial timetable - the opening of Asian markets. While the legislative plan was far better than the Paulson 3-page plan, it focused on salvaging securities, vice individual mortgages themselves. Had the focus been to those instead, the entire concept would have been easier for Americans in general to swallow. While some of the riskier mortgages came about because of ignorance or foolishness, many came about because of personal financial considerations, such as loss of a job or a catastrophic health issue in one's family. As we should not be quick to decide on such a large commitment, we should also not be quick to condemn many who find themselves in foreclosure for reasons not of their own making.

Posted by: Chris from VA | September 30, 2008 1:53 PM

Jennifer from Washington DC hit it on the head: the FUNDAMENTAL problem is too many delinquent/defaulted mortgages. The original bill did NOTHING to address this, in fact -- like a thumb in the eye of homeowners -- this bill specifically omitted provision for refinacing distressed homeowner loans! When will the "powers that be" understand that "trickle down" is a MYTH? We need to rebuild from the BOTTOM UP, starting with Average America's economic situation -- not just distressed mortgages, but having allowed credit card companies to charge USURIOUS interest rates, meanwhile shipping millions of good paying, secure jobs overseas and replacing them with marginal service industry jobs. Average Americans have seen their incomes REGRESS, while critical costs for food and energy (not to mention health care) have skyrocketed. So that when Joe and Jane Public took out a mortgage in 1999 that they beleived they could afford, now 8 or 9 years later they're earning LESS, and fear for their jobs every day. THIS is the ROOT of the problem and must be addressed by any legislation of this magnitude. Doing that will serve to ease the "crisis of confidence" not only held by Wall Street, but by Main Street.

Posted by: Davef33 | September 30, 2008 1:53 PM

It failed because of a few simple reasons:

1.) Despite "dire consequence" talk, most people don't believe a bailout is necessary or will work.

2.) Bush has played the "dire" card too often.

3.) Congressmen are up for election, and voting "yes" in conservative or poor areas is political suicide.

4.) It's a anti-conservative doctrine being pushed by McCain and moderately by McAbel (Obama). No one they are pushing it to thinks they know jack... and they don't.

5.) Fundamentally, it's a really, really, bad idea, and Congress doesn't want a repeat of the Invade Iraq vote 2 years hence. I.E., incumbents will be challenged for their pro-bailout vote.

Posted by: Bill Jones | September 30, 2008 1:54 PM

It failed because it was collossally expensive, failed to address the problem it was ostensibly supposed to address and undermined our meritocratic, capitalist society. I think that about sums it up.

Posted by: Tom Riedel | September 30, 2008 1:54 PM

It failed because we the people are sick and tired of all the Chicken-Little fearmongering by this administration - be it the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, the Bear Stearns/Fannie/Freddie/AIG bailouts, it seems the sky is always falling over something, and it results in a power grab by the executive branch with an enormous pricetag (both constitutional and monetarily).

In addition, so what if the economy goes south for a while? All these effete leaders seem to forget, things have not been going well economically for many of us for years now. We have outsourced our jobs, been thrust into an economy that encourages us to go into as much debt as possible to keep expanding - meanwhile, our wages go down, our trade deficit goes up, and we wave good-bye to middle-class jobs shipped overseas.

It is HIGH time for a shake-up of this house of cards that has benefitted only the top while the rest of us struggle. If it comes crashing down, then we can build a new economy like our grandparents did --- this time, based on real jobs, real manufacturing and real skills as opposed to the overeducated funny-money-men who insisted that everything was just peachy while the rest of the country started falling apart years ago.

Posted by: Enough is enough | September 30, 2008 1:54 PM

It failed because the country has been lied to by the Bush administration so often that they no longer believe anything that is said from there. Plain and simple, few believe that there is an "economic disaster" coming. Why should they? Just weeks ago Bush was assuring them that the economy was strong and solid.

Posted by: Gasmonkey | September 30, 2008 1:54 PM

Quite simply, the Republicans are running scared! The fact that 30-1 citizens opposed the Bail-out in calls to their Congressman created a panic in the Republicans that could not be overcome by an appeal to their responsibility to the nation. On the other hand, no one has been able to say what the real problem is, how this bailout actually addresses the problem, and why Wall Street is so positive about the bailout!

I would be a lot more supportive if Wall Street was the ones unhappy with the plan and were forced to accept the plan because of the dire situation! Rather, Wall Street appears to be overjoyed at the prospect and the situation is not dire enough that they must be begged to participate by not restricting the incomes, bonuses, Golden Parchutes, etc..

That is not a plan that I can believe in!! I have no need to reward Wall Street or the politicians that created this mess! I want to "Grab Back" every dime extorted from the financial system by the scions of Wall Street, "Grab Back" every dime used to "BUY" the politicians to give these same extortionists free rein to exploit the deregulation and tax breaks given by the Republican politicans and their corporate owners, and "Grab Back" the Honor and Prestige squandered by this corrupt, sleazy regime of George!

Posted by: Chaotician | September 30, 2008 1:55 PM

"Lawmakers and taxpayers don't fully understand the gravity of the crisis."

If lawmakers and taxpayers don't fully understand the gravity of the crisis....(which obviously they don't)...then this in inself points to a failure of leadership in both the public and private sectors. Can anyone imagine LBJ having let this measure fail?

Posted by: Bob B. Allen, Nashville | September 30, 2008 1:57 PM

P.S. The bill also had "pork" in it:
Section 106(d), the transfer of a percentage of profits. This provision allows invidual contracts where a profit is made to take twenty percent of the profit of that contract and divide it between the Housing Trust Fund (65%) and the Capital Management Fund (35%). My problem lies in the fact that 100% of all profits need to go towards the payoff of the debt, salaries and reimbursements to the GAO and the like before any monies are poured over into the Housing Trust Fund or Capital Management Fund. The Taxpayers need to be made completely whole before any welfare program is given to. And the best way to help making sure we are made financially whole is to look at the profit/loss on all contracts wholly, not individually! I would love to run my business like that where I could pick and receive a bonus off of only the profitable business ignoring any contracts that had a loss. Business doesn't work that way.

Secondly, it seems funny to me that Congress is talking so much about transparency and yet there is a clause in Section 129 (c) giving the board a confidentiality clause into the reports on this program if a written request is received from the Chairman. I would apreciate complete transparency so we the taxpayers know what is going on!

Posted by: CBAlexander1961 | September 30, 2008 1:57 PM

There is nothing tangible in it for the American people. Liquid credit markets don't translate to them.

Give us job creating infrastructure projects...something we can touch, use, and be proud of for $700 billion. Schools, clean water, mass transit, green energy, dual and triple tracking railroads, a St. Lawrence seaway that can accommodate container ships (bringing jobs to the Midwest and Industrial Heartland)...this results in short and long term growth.

Invest in America instead of Iraq and Wall Street.

Posted by: Jared Hautamaki | September 30, 2008 1:57 PM

The bill failed first because the Administration called it a BAILOUT!

It they would have structured it more of a LOAN with small interest 3-5% then it might have had traction with the American People.

This would have given us a profit on the LOAN. It would have been giving each taxpayer some interest to pay for our high gas prices, high food prices, inflation offsets, etc.

Posted by: jerry rubin | September 30, 2008 1:58 PM

There's 35 days until an election. These bankers who lent money for homes to people they knew could not pay off the debt got the homes back, kept the money paid, and NOW want §700 billion to "bail them out"? We all remember Bush's year 2000 statement about: "Giving a [tax] break to the people who pay the bills [the bankers]" who got a HUGE tax break then. And they want another one now? You can tell Bush is lying when he opens his mouth, and he's not even a lawyer. After eight years, and 4100 dead and 30,000 wounded American troops, we finally got it. 50 to 100/1 against another Bush lie, against another of Pelosi's taxpayer's backstabbing smiles....and we got it. Our Congress and the President are owned by the banks. Nobody has the cash or the patience or the naivety to think otherwise anymore. Get lost you chumps! If we see you in the breadlines, you're gonna get it!

Posted by: bong_jamesbong2001 | September 30, 2008 1:58 PM

It failed because the whole deal is fundamentally unfair and unamerican. The poor should not be paying for the sins of the rich. Our representatives are supposed to be servants of the people not pawns of Wall Street. Pure and simple, the people are outraged.

Posted by: Madeleine | September 30, 2008 2:01 PM

This bill is almost uniformly unpopular---even to those of us who suspect that it really is necessary in some form. It was supposed to be a bipartisan bill: the Democrats delivered over half of their members; the Republicans couldn't bring their half to the table. I think many of the Dems who voted 'no' did so because the bill still doesn't sufficiently address the mortgage crisis from the homeowners perspective. For the Republicans, I suspect they were worried about re-election, or were just fundamentally opposed to intervention in the market. Some of the Republicans are truely rabid--to the point of self-destruction--regarding market intervention. That attitude has prevented reasonable regulation of our financial institutions for years. Hopefully, that kind of reckless irresponsibility will come to an end.

Posted by: Unaffiliated Voter | September 30, 2008 2:01 PM

Why is no one talking about the fact that not one representative from Arizona votes for the bill? Talk about a lack of leadership....

Posted by: Carol | September 30, 2008 2:04 PM

Three points:

1. There has been a real failure to define the problem to the American people, who don't know that much about the credit system and how it works. This is a credit crisis first and foremost. Paulson or Dodd (for example) should have explained that credit is like motor oil; if your car's engine runs out of motor oil, it freezes up and your car's a goner. If credit dries up, the economy freezes up, and your job (or your small business or your student loan) could be a goner.

2. The proposed solution got labeled as a "Wall Street bailout." That moniker alone was the kiss of death.

3. For months everyone (Paulson, Bernenke, outside experts, the press) have said that bad mortgages are at the root of the crisis. So people don't understand why the legislation seemed to not directly address that source of the problem (the provision to allow renegotiation of mortgage terms in bankruptcy court, for example, was not included in the bill).

Posted by: Dee | September 30, 2008 2:04 PM

Two of the most divisive people in washington are responsible for the failure.

George W Bush, and Nacy Pelosi.

Anytime Bush opens his mouth, I am absolutely rabidly opposed to ANYTHING he says. He lies, he mis-informs, and he has no accountability.

Anytime Pelosi opens her mouth, the right is absolutely rabidly opposed to anything she says (and so am I, often). She lies, she mis-informs, and has absolutely no accountability.

W is easy enough, wait another 2 months, and we're rid of the ignorant, incompetent fool.

Pelosi is a little harder, but the Dems HAVE to recognize the futility and disastrous consequences of leaving her in charge. She's TERRIBLE.

Posted by: Fred Evil | September 30, 2008 2:05 PM

The Post provides a number of speculations on why the bailout failed. But it ignores the simplest: Democracy. The proposal failed because a large majority of Americans opposed it and their representatives voted it down. This apparently occurs so rarely, The Post can't even conceive it as a possibility.

Posted by: Aaron | September 30, 2008 2:05 PM

President Bush's bill did not pass because two thirds of the Republicans in the House voted against it.

Their vote was not only a repudiation of a sitting Republican President, it was also an unprecedented vote of non-confidence in Senator McCain, the presidential nominee of their own Republican party.

Today's Republicans are governing like they have never done it before.

Posted by: Jack O'Rourke | September 30, 2008 2:06 PM

A high percentage of registered voters feel that the administration and congress has lied to them for the last eight years. Why believe them now?

Posted by: ntrlsol | September 30, 2008 2:06 PM

It's interesting to me that of the 26 House members who are retiring, 23 voted yes, two voted no and one abstained.

I would have to believe that since the above 26 were not worried about re-election, each did what he/she thought was best for the country. Oh, yes, a majority of these retiring members are Republicans.

It failed not on its merits but because of House members' fears of losing the election. It's always all about keeping the job, winning the election, pulling in enough money from special interests to campaign effectively.

Those of us back home may try to puzzle out what's best for the country, but our elected representatives march to a very different drummer. Sad.

Posted by: rb | September 30, 2008 2:07 PM

Without credit there are no real estate sales, no car sales, no vacuum cleaner sales, no inventory increases by businesses, no business startups, no trips to the south of France, no student loans and on and on. Nobody has ever spelled out how the credit markets work nor how the bailout will solve the current problem. It is silly for the president and congress to say trust me. We tried that with Iraq, the Patriot Act, torture, etc. We need somebody with some ethical value to lay out the problem in detail and then provide a detailed solution. The trusted spokesman also needs to have nerve enough to tell the world that this is just a down payment.

This is a good opportunity for our fearless leaders need to quit talking to each other and talk to the people of the country. Hopefully the response they have received on this issue will carry forward into a lot of other problems that have not been faced in the last few years. They need to hear about developing a workable energy policy, re-buildingoversight of such departments as EPA, FDA, DOT, etc along, restructuring the medical coverage for the country, improving the infrastructure of the country and the list goes on.

The next few years are going to be fun!

Posted by: Stan Barkley | September 30, 2008 2:07 PM

So far neither the Administration nor Congress have come up with anything that addresses the cause of this mess: folks defaulting on (mostly) fraudulently generated mortgages. Why should taxpayers fall for something that is not a true solution, that saddles them with all the costs, yet gifts the jackasses on Wall Street and other financial centers around the country with billions in bonuses for doing such a wonderful job? Paulson, Congress and, yes, Pearlstein just don't get it. Well, they will. They will.

Posted by: GalapagoLarry | September 30, 2008 2:09 PM

McCain took credit for fixing the problem and wanted to own that fix - I say we let him own the blame.

After all, he's a maverick.

Posted by: Mom | September 30, 2008 2:10 PM

I believe the public is fed up with "bail outs" for those who have made bad decisions. This was an attempt to increase government power and was not backed up by any facts, data or even explainations of what, how, why and most importantly: "what are the expected results and how does this action benefit the people of america".

The sensible people of this nation are finally fed up with irresponsible government leaders. And they are beginning to read between the lines of this and other proposals to see the power grabbing attempts that are taking place. Fortunately, we are making our voices heard and some of the politicians are listening. Hopefully we will continue to raise our voices, especially at the polls.

Posted by: Al in Indy | September 30, 2008 2:10 PM

It failed because for the first time in a long time, we had 228 members of our Government that actually cared about us. I'm thankful to all of the representatives (Democrats and Republicans) who had the guts to stand up for us. If they draft another bill and it doesn't make sense for the American people, I hope they stand up one more time on our behalf.

Posted by: Felix | September 30, 2008 2:11 PM

The bill failed because no one has any level of trust in president Bush. Everyone on both sides of the aisle knows he will say anything to get the vote he wants, so a lack of trust lead many congressmen to find other sources of information, much of it conflicting. Time will lead Congress to a consensus and its good that this happened just before a holiday so Conress has many days to learn more about the situation and the bill. At least they should all know how important it is now.

Once everyone knows the situation and the realities, a consensus can form and only those who are trying to take advantage of the crisis, like republicans trying to push through a lowering of caital gains taxes will remain outside the consensus. By Thursday we should have a bill, with many checks and balances.

I'm very glad Congress is finally involved actually. As the saying goes, the two things you don't want to see made are sausage and laws. Turn the children from the TV folks, its going to be ugly for the next few days, but I think Thursday we will all be saying what a grat sausage they made (apologies to my jewish friends on the analogy during this holiday, but it applies all too well :-)

Posted by: Fate | September 30, 2008 2:11 PM

Republicans voted against it so they can go back to their states and say "hey, Im a fiscal conservative... see!" (Of course, pay no mind to the fact that the federal government has expanded dramatically since the Republican Takeover of the House a decade ago, that deficit spending has ruled, and that the only legislation they could muster was to save Terry Schaivo...)

The Dems didn't get a majority, purposefully, so that it had to be a bipartisan bill so the Dems won't be to blame if it tanks.

It failed because it's an election year and everyone's looking for cover. But, it's Ironic that, suddenly, Republicans in the House are pretending to be fiscally conservative.

Posted by: Hacksaw | September 30, 2008 2:12 PM

This bill failed because it was, to quote Nouriel Roubini, a taxpayer ripoff.

There are many better alternatives but our corrupt politicians chose only to listen to a Treasury Dept that's, to quote BB&T CEO John Allison, loaded with Wall Street investment bankers incapable of objectively assessing the impact of financial policy on Main Street.

Wall Street bankers are incapable of understanding the pain felt on Main Street because they are, to quote late President Andrew Jackson, a den of vipers and thieves who speculate the foodstuffs of our country, collect the profits when they win, and pass the loss onto the [taxpayer] when they lose.

A million families may be ruined because of Wall Street and Capitol Hill greed but that is their sin. To pass this bill would ruin ten million families and that would be our sin.

-Legion, for we are many

Posted by: Legion, for we are many | September 30, 2008 2:13 PM

The Main problem is that too many times Bush cried wolf and now there really is a wolf no one believes him. I also believe politics were being played on the part of the House Republicans who were following the right wing memo that called for them to use this as an opportunity to distance themselves from Bush.

It leaves me to wonder why they chose this issue to distance themselves from him when they could have voted against the patriot act, they could have had hearings on the AG firings, they could have taken a stand against torture...None of these issues directly affect main street; whereas, this Investment opportunity is directly affecting Main Street

So then you ask them why they didn't pass it and do they say our constituents didn't like it? They do not trust Bush? They wanted more protections for Main Street? NO! They blame it on their feelings getting hurt!


Posted by: Becky | September 30, 2008 2:15 PM

well we know it didn't fail because of Pelosi's speech. that was just convenient blame - if anyone actually voted against a bill they thought was the best chance to save the credit market because Pelosi said something about deregulation and Bush, they should resign in disgrace (I don't believe it for a minute, and not one repub has actually admitted being one of the 12 who jumped ship from Boehner's/Blunt's 80 vote promise).

It wasn't the dems fault. they delivered 60% of their members despite public opposition to support a proposal from a repub president. what more can you want?

It certainly proved that McCain can't deliver anything, and is dumb enough to take credit for it before he found out he hadn't accomplished squat.

we won't know for a while if McCain's stunt itself soured things or emboldened the house repubs to do the opposite of what he was asking, but as between he and Obama, McCain was the one politicizing the mess - he was so busy taking credit for leadership he forgot to lead.

In the end, enough republicans became convinced that the world wouldn't end if they voted it down, and that with a little more pain, they would get more of what they wanted. we will have to see if they acted responsibly, or just out of ideology (what they propose - capital gains tax cuts and more deregulation - sure doesn't seem like the answer to me), but that's what happened

Posted by: JoeT | September 30, 2008 2:15 PM

There is incredible anger among the public right now at Wall Street and all the others who have gotten us into the mess we're in now and who have profited enormously at the rest of our expense. As shown by the Congressional district map indicating the districts that those who voted "no" on the bailout legislation represent, there is a near-total disconnect between "Main Street" and Wall Street.

The legislation failed, too, because it is a classic pig in a poke. All of the key details of the program - how prices for the toxic assets will be set, how much equity the government will take in these asset purchase deals, how the assets will be managed and sold, whether golden parachutes will be eliminated - are left to the discretion of the Treasury Secretary. General principles and guidelines need to be worked out BEFORE the legislation is passed, not afterwards.

In the banking world, if a bank or its holding company are a "troubled institution", they cannot pay golden parachutes to departing executives, period. Any company selling assets as part of this program (and their executives) should be subject to the same treatment. Wall Street cannot be seen as being "rewarded" for packaging and selling toxic assets to the investing public.

The better way to go here is subordinated loans or preferred stock purchases by the government that can be converted into common stock so the government can participate equally in the upside if the company recovers (a la Chrysler). To the extent that existing shareholders are substantially diluted like they were in the AIG deal or the Bear Stearns acquisition, too bad for them.

Posted by: jab | September 30, 2008 2:16 PM

"The next few years are going to be fun!"
Posted by: Stan Barkley

Yes, we live in interesting times.

Posted by: Fate | September 30, 2008 2:17 PM

The American public is not sold on the idea of picking up the gambling losses of the investment banking houses and letting their shareholders pocket the money. Draw up a bill to rescue the financial system but leave the miscreants with zippo.

Posted by: ed | September 30, 2008 2:18 PM

There was no bailout because there is no crisis.

Everyone figured out yesterday that the emperor has no clothes.

Posted by: AK | September 30, 2008 2:18 PM

As a fifth generation blue dog I found myself agreeing with an opinion piece by (of all people) Ben Stein, writing in the NYT.

In Financial Food Chains, Little Guy Can't Win


Well worth the quick read.

'These wagers entail amounts many times larger than the total of subprime loans.
In fact, there are roughly $62 trillion in credit-default swap derivatives out there, compared with about $1 trillion of subprime mortgages.'

For me, it is the suspicion that the problem lies not with the subprime loans but with the greater shadow market of hedge funds, derivitives, credit swaps etc.

The upsurping of the Constitution, which Paulson asked for as part of the deal, makes me feel like it is the run up to the Iraq War all over again.

If one reason for justification of the plan doesn't persuade the American public then just keep hauling out additional reasons .....

The low point was the threat that 'Americans would go to the ATM machine and that the cash wouldn't be there' b.s.

Doesn't that sound like 'we can't wait until the smoking gun becomes the mushroom cloud' argument heard from this same crowd?

Posted by: gracefulboomer | September 30, 2008 2:18 PM

Maybe the "crisis" isn't nearly as bad as the administration wants us to think it is (notice that many of yesterday's DJ losses have been recovered today - doesn't look like a panicked Wall Street)

Has no one wondered about the timing of this?

Bush has a just a few months left in office, and lo and behold his Treasury Secretary comes out and wants us to give him $700 BILLION(!) dollars to give to his Wall Street friends as he and the Bush administration sees fit. Whoa Nelly! Just how stupid do they think we are!!!

This is why Republicans will do anything to win elections - so they can transfer as much money from our pockets to the pockets of their wealthy friends (how many houses does John McCain have again?)

We may be facing a real financial crisis and the bailout might be needed, but I no longer trust anything the Bush administration says anymore. I don't think I'm alone.

Posted by: Trakker | September 30, 2008 2:20 PM

The bailout failed because:

1. For months the administration has been saying that everything is fine. Ignore the fire in the corner, it won't destroy the building.

2. The administration thought the economic stimulus plan will fix the problem. Spend our way out of yet another problem.

3. The administration has spent it's credibility with the American people, and Congress. Crying wolf too many times, got the little boy eaten by the wolf.

4. Secretary Paulson showed up with a request for $700 billion with unlimited power for himself. This killed the plan with the American people. A very large dollar amount with a power grab attached is hard to swallow.

5. Idealogues on both sides clung to their familar sign posts.

6. There are no current members of the House or Senate who have a memory of the Great Depression. (There are some members old enough who either were wealth enough so it didn't impact them or there are memory problems).

Posted by: Sarah | September 30, 2008 2:20 PM

Bush and his administration no longer have any credibility whatsoever. How is "main street" supposed to know what's really going on? Congress needs to accept the responsibility they've been given and vote for what needs to be done. Instead it appears as if "politics" are more important than the welfare of our country.

Posted by: Linda | September 30, 2008 2:26 PM

The legislation was a rush, fear job. The fear of the market, economic depression, credit drying up, etc was stuffed in our faces to get us to agree to this. Please take the time, find out what will fix the problem, and do it right. The sky will not fall, ultimately it will level out. Probably not back where it was, because that was all a fairy tale. Credit is drying up???? My credit rating, job, income, etc is excellent. My credit is still available, and has been raised. It's a pig in a poke, and I hope it failed because the house, legislature, heard main street. And, voted it down in its present form. Back up and do it right, take your time and do it right. Stuff a sock in Bush's mouth and do it right.

Posted by: linda521 | September 30, 2008 2:27 PM

A) Republican leadership couldn't deliver the GOP rank-and-file.

B) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) attack on President Bush alienated wavering Republicans.

C) Pelosi couldn't deliver enough Democrats.

D) Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) mucked things up.

E) The plan was not adequately sold to taxpayers, many of whom saw it as a bailout for Wall Street fat cats.

F) Lawmakers and taxpayers don't fully understand the gravity of the crisis.

G) All of the above

The answer of course is "G"

Second choice is "D,E,F"

Posted by: rcc_2000 | September 30, 2008 2:28 PM

I agree with Ms Zayas. Anytime this country is at war or in a financial crisis, it's the blue collar people who actually EARN their money that get the screws put to them. Here's a concept, how about some of the heinously overpaid CEO's sell a few of their houses and return the zillion dollar bonuses they gave themselves. The people responsible for this mess should take responsiblity.

Posted by: Marty/Idaho | September 30, 2008 2:29 PM

The House understands the global economy about as well as the average American. Ie, poorly. Thus, this is a bailout, not a rescue, and bailouts are just bad. End of story.

Posted by: NW DC | September 30, 2008 2:29 PM

It is about time Congress as a whole debated the issue and not be led around by the nose by their respective party leadership.
While I am not a big fan of professional politicians, they collectively should come up with something the public understands and agrees too, if the best ideas are allowed to bubble to the top (which is not what will necessarily happen when the "leadership" strong arms them into voting for a deal they concocted in private meetings.

Posted by: Rick | September 30, 2008 2:30 PM

The people's contempt for the Elitists who have run this country into the ground is greater than their fear of disaster.

Posted by: Papatee | September 30, 2008 2:31 PM

McCain's posturing was clearly a campaign stunt and wasn't really taken seriously by most people. The Senate GOP shouldn't have been swayed into reneging on their initial bipartisan stance, but that just made them look ridiculous. Pelosi's speech was not well done of her, but does not excuse the House GOP from reacting in spite, if indeed that is why the vote went against.

Ultimately I believe the blame lies with Bush and Paulson for not properly explaining and informing the public. A lot of scary scenarios were put forth by both, a tactic that too closely mimicked the press to invade Iraq for public comfort, but no one bothered to put the concept of the bail out into words the average person would understand. "Bail out" was a bad phrase that evoked images of throwing good money after bad. The whole mix was virtually tailored-made to get the public screaming.

When you give people information, they feel more in control of a situation. That control may be ephemeral at best, but they *feel* better about things. When you withhold information, that only serves to increase panic. If Paulson or someone had stood in front of a camera with a marker and white board and said "Here is how it would work: step 1; step 2; step 3 ..." people would have felt better informed and more confident about the process. They would have been less likely to protest something they didn't really understand and Congress wouldn't have let election year jitters dictate their votes.

Posted by: cb11 | September 30, 2008 2:31 PM

Because if Wall Street runs through their money, we should not give them more.

It was a bad bill. Period.

Posted by: GM123 | September 30, 2008 2:33 PM

It failed because it was a sloppily crafted, bad bill that takes middle class taxpayer money and blatantly transfers it to the wealthy.

The fact that is was so rushed makes me deeply skeptical that it is necessary. It reminds me of the run up to the Iraq war (unnecessary/illegal) and the Patriot Act (unconstitutional/illegal).

In my experience, when the Bush administration rushes congress into something like this it is either A) illegal or B) unwarranted. The administration does not want to give lawmakers or the public time to deliberate because the administration realizes that we will realize these things.

The Republican majority listened to their constituency on this and did not vote for the bill. I might add, a good number of Democrats did the same.

Thank God they listened to us for once. After all, it IS our money!

Posted by: mary | September 30, 2008 2:34 PM

I urged my Rep to not approve of any bailout that would have one penny going to pay any Executive Officers' salaries or "golden parachutes" as they should be the first Americans to sacrifice in this crisis for their reckless, greedy and irresponsible decisions.

Also I urged him to ensure that every penny allocated to this bailout be accounted for directly to providing the liquidity required to sustain this grey goose while rational long term fixes can be determined.

I am insulted that many in the mainstream media propose the American taxpayer is too ignorant to understand the crisis. The reason we are urging caution is because we DO indeed understand what is at stake.

Posted by: Nadine Naujoks | September 30, 2008 2:35 PM

It failed because the politicians did not have the stones.

They did not have the stones to "Deliver" votes. This means that the "leadership", and I use that term in the very loosest of context, did not really see it as an "American" problem. They were not ready to sacrifice anything, read: their seats in Congress or their Majority, to pass the bill. They went through the polls and decided who could vote for the bill and still be re-elected. The rhetoric from both sides was sickening!

This vote, if you did not already know it, proves that Congress is in it for Congress, not for us (US)!

No one up there was ready to vote for the bill if it meant they might not get re-elected.

Posted by: Bill | September 30, 2008 2:35 PM

Because while the bill may provide a very short term relief we still need to undergo severe economic changes in this country and many americans recognize this is nothing more than stop gap measure to shore up wall street while the real economy continues to suffer. Under the bill people will still continue to lose their houses to foreclosures which will continue to drive housing prices down. This bill really does nothing for the average american while ensuring that companies are still not held accountable for their actions. Many congresspeople understand if we do this once we will be stuck pumping money into a faltering economy every time wall street tanks rather than doing what needs to be done for the long term success of our economy which is getting individual and government spending under control such that we are saving money and earning interest rather than borrowing money and paying interest.

Posted by: ChristianT | September 30, 2008 2:37 PM

Our soldiers give their lives, and know that freedom is not free.

But our bankers want a free ride.

Some free market.

Posted by: Old Army | September 30, 2008 2:37 PM

Here's old Adam Smith on the issue:
"The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order [merchants and businessmen], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." -Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, (1776)

Posted by: That Guy | September 30, 2008 2:37 PM

McCain's failure to mobilize the White Conservative Republican Caucus (Newt Gingrich beat him to it!)

Posted by: JustAThought08 | September 30, 2008 2:38 PM

The bailout failed because of the unprincipled intervention of McCain. Last Thursday the House, Senate, and White House had agreed to the terms of the bailout. Then McCain parachuted in to Washington to save the day. After this the agreement became the target of the conservative Republicans and Democrats. The weekend provided the timeframe in which opposition to the bailout could grow. Had McCain not interfered with this process the bailout would have passed in the House. If this is an example of his leadership skills and abilities, then we need to make sure that he does not a chance to be so inept in the White House.

Posted by: Richard Whetstone | September 30, 2008 2:40 PM

When people make mistakes, they usually pay some price. I think most people believe the Banks and Traders have made the mistake of GREED and poor Management coupled with a lack of Integrity and deserve the punishment. The Traders and Bankers, lacking integrity, don't want to suffer and believe the Government (Taxpayer) will be gullible enough to the price for them. Let them fail and all who have grab a hold on Banks shirttail should fail as well. Learn their lessons, well.

Posted by: Garland | September 30, 2008 2:41 PM

Forget giving money to the people/Business on top. Trinkle down ecomomic will not work
this time. Give the money to the people on the bottom so they can pay their note's and
the money will make it way to the top.Side note:still waiting for my 40 Arces and Mule
translation;House and transportation.
Failed because;A.Timing

Posted by: Larry | September 30, 2008 2:42 PM

Too many Republicans live in an ideological world, a parallel universe. Judging from the first vote, many Republs prefir to live in a universe where there a people (Wall Street execs) who need to be "punished" and "gov't needs to stay out of business" instead of living in a universe where real financial danger is recognized and dealt with and where it is recognized that this is PRECISELY the moment gov't should intervene. Pubs: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Posted by: Dave A | September 30, 2008 2:42 PM

Because the real Republican Conservatives and the real Democratic Liberals both figured out that the deal made no sense for America.

The centralist politicians (including Obama and McCain) have proven themselves to be capable of selling out to main stream media without question. Not the people you want in power at a time like this.

Posted by: Southeasterner | September 30, 2008 2:44 PM

I think that a combination of factors are at play here, but the biggest is that Bush has lied to the American people and to Congress too many times. (Jon Stewart even did a side by side of his Iraq and his financial bailout speeches to show they practically recycled the same speech.)

That's why people are not taking it seriously -- why should they? Bush has cried wolf one too many times... and when you then look at the fact that his rich buddies once again get the money, it just doesn't pass the smell test.

The great tragedy, though, is that this may well be the one time we are in great danger. But, because he has cried wolf virtually non-stop for seven years, no one believes it.

So what to do? I think the only solution that would work for average Americans would be one that approached this from the bottom up. Instead of buying the failed mortgage securities and propping up the banks, buy the mortgages directly and renegotiate terms with the buyers. (40 year loans, maybe?) This in turn props up financial institutions because the flood of foreclosures slows down and becomes measurable, allowing a realistic dollar value to be placed on the securities.

Of course, then you'll have people concerned about helping out people who made bad financial decisions. Which means you'd probably have to sweeten the pot with something for homeowners who are not subprime and not in default.

Alternatively, get a billionaire to buy Bill Clinton, George Bush the elder, and Warren Buffet 30 minutes of airtime on all the networks. (Bill to sell it, George to make it non-partisan, and Buffet because he's a financial wizard people seem to trust.) Then have Bill explain to the American people the sad fact that we are already stuck with the bill for this mess -- the only things open for discussion are the terms.

(Maybe Ross Perot can consult on charts.)

Posted by: Lynn in VA | September 30, 2008 2:46 PM

Because it sucked. Because not only did it authorize upwards of a 700-billion credit line to the secretary of Treasury, to be used at buying any and all troubled securities that he saw fit to buy, the bill also allowed for no punitive actions for people taking advantage of this odd moneylending program.

With my retarded understanding of it, it gives the secretary of treasury a free reign to throw money at whatever Wall Street firm he feels is in trouble of going under, in an effort to preserve liquidity and whatnot. And, I've been told, it would help people on Main Street by having money keep circulating.

There just seems to be a better way than this. And as far as the Bush administration using once again its we-better-act-now-or-else gambit, I think it's played out. We have time. The only reason the markets dropped recently is because they're hearing Bush and Paulson talk gloom and doom. Yet, every time Congress is working on something, the market's up, or it holds.

That tells me we have time to figure this out, and get it right. If there is a crisis, we can play it out.

And what the hey: We need the market to correct itself, in order to retain the true value of its contents.

We're not doomed. Get over it.

Posted by: Worthy Evans | September 30, 2008 2:49 PM

Paulson's bailout proposal was beyond terrible...

Any taxpayer rescue to Wall Street should have contained the following provisions:

No golden parachutes to executives and a ceiling of $400,000 salary to execs

All executives to be prosecuted, fined and imprisoned as appropriate for their role in this giant illegal Ponzi scheme

All individual homeowners nearing foreclosure be allowed to restructure and renegotiate their mortgage ASAP

Extensive and far-reaching oversight by at least a dozen non-partisan and independent reviewers.

The bankrupcy bill pushed through by the Republican congress be repealed ASAP

No gifts to Wall Street....these corporations have hard assets: office buildings, cars, planes, boats, real estate
holdings, stocks, bonds,retirement accounts,cash,etc....Liquidate all their assets to turn their corporations around and solve their own problems.

Posted by: mary anne holstrom | September 30, 2008 2:50 PM

So why is that so many seem to think that Americans are just uninformed because they are against the bill? Not so. Many Americans just do not want to give their hard earned money and sell out future generations, to the selfish immoral criminals who milked the market for selfish gain. These Americans are willing to take the hit, yes, take the responsiblity to establish some structure of morality in our society.

What I don't understand is why the pundits think that the people don't get it. They do, its just that they have a sense of self worth and pride, and justice apparently unlike most of the politicians that are so hot to trot on a deal.

Posted by: Madeleine D. | September 30, 2008 2:51 PM

Simple.....Nancy Pelosi. She told her "unsafe" Democrats to vote "no" thinking she had enough Republicans to pass the bill. Then she gave the most vicious,contemptible partisan speech she could muster which caused her to lose enough Republican votes to cause the bill to not pass. Not too smart.

Posted by: JayP | September 30, 2008 2:52 PM

The problem can be summed-up in two words -- Pelosi and Reid. Their vacuous mad-dog "leadership" finally caught up with them.

Posted by: 06 | September 30, 2008 2:53 PM

Overwhelming negative feedback from constituents caused it to fail. The anticipated neg fb was the reason for all the rush in the first place.

Posted by: Karen White | September 30, 2008 2:55 PM

The Bailout failed because Congress listened to the people for a change rather than lobbyists.
The people of this country are smarter than the "representatives" and "leaders" in Washington and the people of this country do indeed know better whats best for them and the country.
I too am surprised that democracy works

Posted by: rudy whitcomb | September 30, 2008 2:55 PM

It failed because your country is afraid that you may become like Canada, balanced budgets, universal health care, more secular then religious And the world seams to like us.

Posted by: allan | September 30, 2008 2:56 PM

Pelosivitch (pardon the typo) mucked things up fearing her face would crack at any moment!

Posted by: Speaker Admirer | September 30, 2008 2:56 PM

The "rescue bill" failed ...because it should have failed, ...because the request for no oversight was offensive, ...because it too much resembled the blank check Bush was given to (mis)manage the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, ...because it looks like still another scheme to transfer money from Main Street to Wall Street, ...because it flat does not pass the "smell test."

No Democrat should vote for the "rescue bill" under any circumstances. DEMOCRATS, ASK YOUR CONSTITUENTS! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH VOTING THE WILL OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS?

Posted by: EGBB | September 30, 2008 2:58 PM

We hate our government and don't trust them - one has to assume that they are out to screw us and reward their friends - this is what they do. We need to burn our government and destroy it!!!

Posted by: eribe | September 30, 2008 3:01 PM

Too Fast! Too Much! To little oversight and too tied to Wall Street and the Bush Administration.

Posted by: srs jones | September 30, 2008 3:01 PM

Not adequately sold, plus Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com shockingly reports on an intercepted conference call that reveals the changes to the original plan are mostly sham improvements, e.g. executive compensation is not to be capped, except on contracts signed AFTER a company accepts bailout money and then only for 2 years.

In other words, the CEOs who drove their companies to the brink are guaranteed their multimillion dollar golden parachutes will be paid for by us taxpayers, so long as their contracts were signed before the bailout.

Posted by: jhbyer | September 30, 2008 3:02 PM

"We the People" do not want more debt caused by Republicans: Reagan - deregulation; GHW Bush - more deregulation; George Bush - MORE drastic deregulation, Kyota Accords, War Criminal Act; Geneva Accords - NO trust re greed, lying, crookedness, MORE money to very wealthy and large corporations.

WHEN is it our TURN to be bailed out?

Don't want CEOs, CFOs, Wall Street, Cheney, Bush and all other 'me, me, me types' taking from poor, lower middle, middle income persons, upper income persons who pay the taxes.

Enough is ENOUGH!!! NO more bailouts for crooks, greedy persons.

Posted by: wilkestraphill | September 30, 2008 3:04 PM

The TRILLIONs in leveraged fradulant packing of debt instruments by the WS big boys cannot be bought by the little amerikan tax payers, this is thank god why Congress wised up to the thieves on Wall STreet. Lets all go down together, not bail out the rich.

Posted by: David | September 30, 2008 3:04 PM

Three reasons:

o On the left, a justified feeling that the
bill as it stands doesn't do enough for
homeowners and wage earners. This flaw
can and should be fixed.

o On the right, a justified feeling that the
bill betrays conservative principles.
This failure may be impossible to fix.

o Across the political spectrum, an
unjustified failure to understand that our
economy is poised to fall into a deep
doodoo-filled hole.

Posted by: oldhonky | September 30, 2008 3:05 PM

Nancy Pelosi is her own parties posion pill. She represents failed democract leadership

Posted by: Dubs | September 30, 2008 3:05 PM

Congress is dysfunctional and has lost all sense of ethics; the President has used up all his mulligans,; and the general public is tired of being used as chumps.

Posted by: L. Nash | September 30, 2008 3:07 PM

Very simple.

Our democracy worked. The American people overwhelmingly opposed this Wall Street bailout, and Congress followed their lead. Boehner and Pelosi gave silly partisan reasons for No votes, but one must remember that both Boehner and Pelosi voted YES. They aren't qualified to speak to the rationale for NO votes. Ultimately the American people are a lot smarter than Bush, Paulsen, Pelosi, Boehner, Obama and McCain put together. Americans see this bailout as an abdication of free market principles. It would have rewarded incompetence and greed, while driving down the dollar, increasing gas prices and having a highly dubious impact on the overall Stock Market instability. Markets are down for one reason only - leaders on Wall Street made bad decisions and stocks are overvalued. Leadership in both parties is failing the American people. Let markets work, and let financial institutions that made bad decisions and got wrapped up in this sub-prime debacle fail. The markets will bounce back, once the dead weight is cleared away. Continue to vote NO on ANY bailout attempt by the whole Washington-New York millionaire insider cabal.

Posted by: Scott | September 30, 2008 3:07 PM

It failed for a myriad of reasons: a 3 page threat of "give me the money or else" set things up right from the start,the congress and the White House underestimated how very angry the middle and working class, the White House & Treasury were adamant at protecting Executive compensation at a time when most people are struggling, respected economists did not see this bill as likely to solve the core issues, many do NOT want Wall Street to go back to business as usual, Wall Street has not added value to our country - nothing tangible was added and now America is waking up from the "free market" to discover that we are financially ruined as a country and no bail-out of Wall Street is going to fix it.
I believe we all want a solution, I think Americans will get behind a Main Street solution like: reset mortgages to fixed rate of 4% at 30 years and then see who still cannot afford things, send those billions to the states for a green energy work plan - weatherize buildings, trade in the state car fleet for hybrids, build solar, wind, thermal energy, etc. These things will provide jobs, decrease our reliance on foreign oil and increase taxe revenue by increasing the number of people who hold a good paying job.

Posted by: Zen | September 30, 2008 3:07 PM

Our leadership has failed. People don't understand how this effects them and are leading themselves like lambs to slaughter with their macho attitudes. Paulson's explanations are lofty, Bush's are simplistic, the candidates are self-serving and no one is in charge. We're like a bunch of parents at a soccer game running up and down the field screaming because the coaches and referees have lost control of the game.

Posted by: Bruce Turner | September 30, 2008 3:07 PM

It failed because of angry people who blame Wall Street instead of blaming themselves. It was the greed of Main Street, not Wall Street, that created the demand for too big houses and too many houses. Wall Street merely packaged what Main Street wanted. I'm tired of angry people. Whatever happened to personal responsibility to live within your means. Government has been working hard to solve the crisis that the greed of the American people has caused.

Posted by: disgusted | September 30, 2008 3:09 PM

No one has confidence in anything that Bush says anymore and that precipatates down to everyone in the Executive branch. Bush has morphed into the little boy that cried wolf.

Posted by: Eringer | September 30, 2008 3:10 PM

All of the above!

No one "deserves" to be bailed out for making bad financial decisions or "gambling" on a profit.

If I loose money in a Las Vegas casino I don't expect the casino to return it.

Likewise, if a home owner, investor or business, makes bad decissions or over extends themselves they deserve to loose. The US economy will make corrections and continue to grow.

Posted by: Ken K | September 30, 2008 3:12 PM

I am beginning to get a little ticked off at snotty elitist (this is not directed at the usual suspects, i.e., the liberal establishment, but the conservative pundits, such as Charles Krauthammer, economic mavens and pseudo behavioral scientists) blaming this on congressmen cravenly caving in to pressure from, as we, the people are variously labeled, the crowd, the mob or the herd. This reaction indicates these yahoos are not true friends of democracy, at least in its inclusion of the rabble that should only ratify the decisions made by our betters. They continually carp about the importance of freedom and democracy for a sound economy, but they apparently would like to restrict suffrage to free, white, Anglo-Saxon protestant (birth right and converts), property owning males. They are miffed that the system of government put into place by the Founding Fathers' worked. It is no accident they established one segment of the legislature that has all its members stand for election every two years. This was done so that the hoi polloi could exercise restraint on the most egregious manifestations of the elite's greed and avarice. Now behavioral scientists are attributing the revolt against the unrestrained excesses of the financiers on "herd mentality." Apparently they think this is mass paranoia; well, you know the old saw, "You are not paranoid, they are really out to get us!" Gentlemen, don't blame the medicine, instead, blame the germs causing the infection, and give us common folk credit for having half a brain.

Posted by: ChuckB | September 30, 2008 3:13 PM

It failed because Washington, New York, and our self-described elite are out of touch with reality. The Beltway Brain Trust and Wall Street Mafia that brought us this mess thinks Americans are fools. The change coming to our elected officials, the lobbyists, and Wall Street will cost them a lot more than $700 billion.

Banks usually loan people money. It's time we straightened things out.

A good 2x4 to Paulson's immense (and apparently thick) forehead, metaphorically speaking, is long overdue.

Higher taxes, death to hedge funds without regulation, death to private equity shenanigans, and tighter ethics rules are on the way.

And, no, Obama, you have a lot to answer for, even if you win.

Don't start thinking mandate. Start thinking cleaning house. Both of them plus that White one.

Posted by: Outraged | September 30, 2008 3:15 PM

There was a local news story about a homeowner who will soon lose his home to foreclosure when his ARM reset and his payments nearly double. This financial crisis was the result of the worthlessness of MBS and the write down of billions in these worthless securities by financial institutions.

No one really knows the valuation of these securities and how much more it will cost the taxpayers. The rescue plan does not address this issue as another round of foreclosures is just about to be initiated.

Because there is such a glut of homes on the market, the real estate market has become deflationary. This will continue to put the economic recovery at a risk. The basic economic law of supply and demand is still in play. It has been suggested by some economic professors that it would be better for Congress take over the mortgage contracts & MBS and renegotiate the contracts to 4% fixed interest rate for homeowners.

1. This would invigorate the slumping house market by driving up demand for homes.

2. The valuation in homes will stop sliding stabilizing the equity in the home markets

3. Homeowners facing foreclosure will no longer have to worry about ARM's resetting

doubling their payments and they will be able to stay in their homes.

3. Over the life of the mortgage, the value will increase, thereby stabilizing the

valuation of the MBS and they will once become marketable to financial institutions.

4. It will prevent the next round of foreclosures

5. It will create more jobs in the construction industry.

It seems that it would be a win-win situation as it would tackle the undermining cause of the economic implosion on Wall Street among the financial institutions on MBS so the Main Street and Wall Street would both profit from this action. Otherwise, Congress is just trying to throw good money after bad as they have done in the pass which does not
work in order to spend our way out of the situation without addressing the underlying root cause of the problem.

Posted by: Solution | September 30, 2008 3:15 PM

My elderly uncle named is yesterday.

My business teacher once said I'd never amout to much, he said.

But look at me, I'm important enough to bail out the rich snotty jews of wall street. My money. Must have amounted to something.

He didn't add "hapy new year"...I do.

Posted by: celesta | September 30, 2008 3:15 PM

I told you eight years ago to elect more republicans will lead us into a great depression. Yes I am old enough to remember the last one very well. You young know it all s will suffer. I will know how to cope with it.

Posted by: Westexacan | September 30, 2008 3:17 PM

The people spoke. It does not trust the government solution to this crisis. Why doesn't the government get at the root causes and buy the distressed mortgages - not the fancy derivatives that make the fat cats rich?

Posted by: Bryan | September 30, 2008 3:18 PM


Posted by: eLINOR | September 30, 2008 3:18 PM

The bill failed because the public is wiser since the Iraq War.

The public recognizes this crisis is familar - the media hysteria, the dire vague warnings from the President, the Democrats blindly following along, the lack of real facts and details about the situation.

I am not a Republican but I give them credit for asking questions and wanting clarity - something we failed to do before marching into Iraq.

Posted by: Smarter Since Iraq | September 30, 2008 3:18 PM

The bill didn't pass because each side is trying to play politics. It is the law known in economics as "tragedy of the commons."

Even though everyone should do what is right for the interest of the nation, each individual party's interest is to allow the bill to fail so that they can point fingers at the other side and say "you caused this mess."

The fact is that this macroeconomic disaster developed under the watchful eye of BOTH parties, regulators, economists and investors big and small.

WE THE PEOPLE of America have lived a life of easy credit on debt far beyond our means. The financial system of capitalism in America today is a highly interlinked and highly leveraged "house of cards." As long as there are productivity increases and price stability, and ample foreign funding of our debt, as there has been for many years now, this model functions well. Sadly, we are now moving into a period of stagnant productivity growth combined with inflation stoked in the energy markets. A weak and fragile dollar threatens to cut off at the base the free flowing foreign capital that has fueled our society's greedy appetite.

A lethal combination has now formed: the asset bubble that resulted from the Fed keeping interest rates artificially low post-9/11, combined with a system of bundling artifically inflated assets together in the mortgage market, has created a chokehold in financial system of bad debt that threatens to crash the "house of cards" WE THE PEOPLE have created.

We are now going to be faced with the following domino effect of a metaphorical economic nuclear bomb: 1) banks fail en masse; 2) people panic and run for their money; 3) credit markets freeze and disrupt business; 4) the dollar collapses; 5) foreign capital flees and refuses to buying our nation's debt; 6) massive layoffs and rising unemployment; 7) weak dollar stokes rapidly rising inflation in the energy markets; 8) US Fed lowers interest rates and floods the money supply in an effort to stoke economic growth, thus triggering further declines in the dollar and its denominated assets (ie. stock market continues to go down); 9) property values plummet in a further cycle of asset deflation. And so on and so forth...

Gee, don't you people in Congress get it? For once, place the Country's interest above your own, even if it means being voted out of office.

Posted by: A Citizen for Shared Responsibility | September 30, 2008 3:20 PM

I think the situation exceeded our 30 minute attention spans, required us to think for ourselves and do our own research, and provided too many options. On the other hand, not trusting a leadership cadre that has proven its duplicity over the last eight years didn't help much. There's also the fact that the market recovered rather quickly for the dying swan it had been diagnosed as... darn, my favorite program just came on.

Posted by: dadams | September 30, 2008 3:21 PM

There's a report on the Internet that Andrea Mitchell reported Newt Gingrich worked behind the scenes to turn about a dozen votes, stabbing Boehner in the back (not to mention, oh, the entire nation and our economy) in order to start to set up for a 2012 presidential run.

Is this true? Please knock it down if not. I realize there are plenty of wild rumors out there. But if it is, I sure would be interested in his explanation. So would my bank, mortgage company, family, friends, business clients...

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | September 30, 2008 3:21 PM

Re Mary Anne's point:
"All individual homeowners nearing foreclosure be allowed to restructure and renegotiate their mortgage ASAP"

I agree, but don't see how you sell this to the American people. What I'm hearing from my friends and neighbors is that people who think they played by the rules don't want to bail out people who took bad loans. Even when you explain that foreclosures and falling house prices hurt all of us. It's irrational, but people "who did the right thing" want to punish others EVEN IF IT HURTS THEM FINANCIALLY.

So, what do you do about this? Maybe the Feds take on insuring ALL mortgages -- including jumbos -- and in return for these guarantees, require the banks to renegotiate with EVERYONE who meets certain criteria. (Even if not in foreclosure.) Effectively, you'd be capping mortgage interest rates, offering extended terms, and switching people from ARMs to fixed rate mortgages (possibly for longer terms) ONLY on primary homes that they live in. And for Americans to view it as fair, five conditions have to apply:
* can't require requalification -- why should I have to do paperwork again if I am current on paying my mortgage?
* no cash out allowed in refinancing, but, where possible merge first and second mortgages
* a reasonable paperwork cost can be added to help offset administrative costs
* anyone who is in arrears on their mortgage has to have some kind of penalty built into loan. Perhaps this is added to principal and length of loan extended.
* build in some kind of mechanism to allow a grace period for people who are unemployed or ill (short-term). Beyond that, anyone who defaults AFTER the new fairer terms are applied is allowed to go into foreclosure.

Everyone who does it pays some kind of insurance premium to the feds. This addresses the fairness concern because ALL Americans who own homes can participate. But those who do pay for the privilege.

This might stablize housing markets, sweeten deal enough for "Main Street" to tolerate buying failed mortgages or securities from financial institutions that agree to this restructuring.

Posted by: Divided we fall | September 30, 2008 3:27 PM

There is an election coming up, not just for president, but every member of the House of Representatives. I believe most members of Congress were for the bailout before they were against it. They wanted the bailout to pass, but wanted to run for reelection being able to say they'd voted against it. They depended on other members of Congress to vote for it. It didn't happen, and now we'll all lose our shirts.

Posted by: lhakel | September 30, 2008 3:28 PM

Let's say a third of the 228 nays voted their conscience. That still leaves more than 150 legislators in the lower house whose concern for personal political survival trumped the broader national interests of their country. Yeah, the kind of people I'd like to trust with war authorization and tax legislation. What kind of moral pygmies are we electing to Congress these days?

Posted by: alexhamilton | September 30, 2008 3:32 PM

It's very simple why the bailout failed. There were not enough
votes in favor of passage. Can't everybody see the vote totals?
People... can we not count votes?

Posted by: steve Dobkowski,Detroit | September 30, 2008 3:32 PM

It's very simple why the bailout failed. There were not enough
votes in favor of passage. Can't everybody see the vote totals?
People... can we not count votes?

Posted by: Wendy Latham,Detroit | September 30, 2008 3:32 PM

The bill failed because too many Representatives caved into their basest political motives. The public anger at this "bailout" is misplaced and misinformed, but few of our elected officials have the the courage to tell their constituents the truth.

Do we need better regulation of our financial markets? Certainly. Did the greed of Wall Street executives play a role in this debacle? Certainly.

But there is plenty of greed to go around this time. Wall Street didn't create these risky investments just to pad their own pay; they created them because that is what the pension funds, hedge funds, endowments, and 401(k) plans wanted to buy. Everyone was chasing the highest rate of return. How many of these "angry" citizens now decrying the bailout directed their 401(k) plans to seek lower returns? How many pensioners stepped up to take lower benefits so that their investment managers could take positions with less risk? The answer is: damn few.

The American public has been living on an orgy of debt, hoping that their home values and 401(k) plans will make it all up in the end with no pain and no sacrifice.

Well, the chickens have come home to roost for awhile and, as usual, the public is looking for someone or something other than their own greed to blame.

Posted by: jpb | September 30, 2008 3:34 PM

The bill failed because humans are magical thinkers who think that hiding from reality will make it go away. We have trouble believing in something that hasn't happened yet, even if it's the logical, self-evident consequence of what we already know. I would have thought that our elected representatives would be better at this than the rest of us, but apparently not... especially on the Republican "faith-based" side of the aisle.

What did the captain of the Titantic say as it went down? "This ship is unsinkable." And what were Republicans saying yesterday? "I refuse to compromise my free market principles."

Posted by: eatbees | September 30, 2008 3:37 PM

So, the people who own the instruments, the banks that created them should pay, not the taxpayer.

Posted by: Ed | September 30, 2008 3:38 PM

Why is all the talk about failure? The action taken on this bill was a great victory for american voters, most of whom see nothing to be gained by bailing out the greedy corporations. Let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: William D. Smith | September 30, 2008 3:38 PM

The House Republicans explained the "why" while displaying a copy of Pelosi's speech.
They felt embarrassed and ashamed of being exposed once again to the failures of the Republican administration and the Republican Congressional leadership when they had control and put this nation in the downward spiral we see today.

The "snivelling whiners" decided to present themselves as additionally "inept" and "incompetent" to serve any future term in service to their constituents by failing the balloting.

As the meltdown of 401Ks and IRAs and many other retirement funds begin to sink in back home. Heavier runs on Money Market Funds and the like, will facilitate losses across the board on Wall Street and Main Street.

The unemployment lines will grow longer in October as more Americans lose their jobs and any remaining benefits that are still supplied by an employer. November should find many additional unemployed Americans most will be Republicans from Congress along with State Representatives also.

Posted by: motiv8ed | September 30, 2008 3:39 PM

Many members of the House just are not very smart. They can't see beyond their pile of e-mails, or their next radio show appearance. And there are too many with narrow ideologies, both left and right. The "Responsible Middle" is too small. Our leaders, at the White House and athe Capitol, are weak.

Posted by: Woody Brosnan | September 30, 2008 3:40 PM

I believe that John McCain, someone who I had always respected, took the wrong path and his strategy failed. He unleashed the Republicans thinking that he could then contain them and come out as the hero. He failed. His failure is our loss - maybe his as well when its all over. Its sad that McCain and the Republicans will play politics during such a serious/dangerous time. For what its worth: thank God we have Paulson at the helm.

Posted by: Thomas, Denver | September 30, 2008 3:41 PM

Most remember at the outset of the bailout request by the White House how Democrats and Republicans, alike, stressed the importance of keeping politics out of the process. Beginning with McCain's aborted attempt to posit himself as the catalyst for success, it went off the rails from there. Both sides have injected politics into the mix, insuring its defeat. Republicans and some Democrats also responded to the anger of their constituents unequivocally opposing any form of help for Wall Street, who in their view has caused this meltdown. These same politicians are looking toward November when they are up for reelection, resulting in the nearly 'perfect storm.'

Posted by: Diogenes | September 30, 2008 3:41 PM

I believe there are two major explanations to the no vote in Congress.

1. Valid reasons for the financial injection of this size were never clearly explained to the American people. This is not a bailout of Wall Street. The owners of the failing institutions will loose a lot of money.

2. The upcoming election certainly plays its part. While feeling a strong resistance to the financial plan by many people of their constituencies, some congressmen have been tempted to vote no to this plan while remaining confident the plan would be accepted by Congress. They would then be enabled to tell their voters they have voted as they have wished, namely no.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Sparve

Posted by: Robert Sparve | September 30, 2008 3:43 PM

We had a big, fuzzy number about the putative cost--but nothing to compare it with, i.e. the estimated cost of doing nothing. Sure, any such estimate would be extremely loose. But couldn't competent economists come up with a range of scenarios complete with price tags? And would those numbers be really any hazier than the $700 bn? They'd certainly put some perspective on the rescue plan.

Posted by: Chazbe | September 30, 2008 3:44 PM

100 to 1 ,500 to 1 phone blitzes to congress AGAINST bailout...Blatantly engineered economic terrorism on the American people by the Elites..Bailout would just postpone inevitable, while consolidating power into the hands of the corrupt elites..NO way, Jose..

Posted by: frak | September 30, 2008 3:45 PM

In the mid 90's the regulation on usary was changed such that the huge untapped moneies owned by less wealthy Americans could be tapped. My suspicion is that the change was directed by finanical leaders in an effort to move these untapped funds into securities that could be sold and resold turning ever larger profit margins. As far back as 2000 the warning signs began to become obvious as mortages and credit card debts defaulted. Then The bankruptcy laws were changed in order to make it less easy for personal bankruptcy protection. For the entire decade the problem has been exacerbated without proper fiducial management. Now they want the rest of our belongings. Noooooo! My mind has turned the political arena into one simple sentence, 'The Republicans are terrible pirates and the democrats are Mom in her apron trying to make things right again. Go Mom.

Posted by: Steve Balme | September 30, 2008 3:45 PM

I would like to think that the bill failed because COMMON SENSE prevailed. I mean, it's going to take me more than 72 hours to make a decision regarding a $700 billion expenditure. But wait, Congress wasn't spending their money, they were spending our money. Never mind...I got nuttin'.

Posted by: pvh1 | September 30, 2008 3:46 PM

This is not like the runup to the Great Depression when average Americans were in the equity market with borrowed money. While the credit bubble bursting will hurt, it will hurt the fools who pumped it up in the first place the worst. The bailout shifts the pain from them to the rest of us. Figure out how to help the credit markets, but not a dime should go to banking execs or shareholders.

Posted by: ed | September 30, 2008 3:47 PM

It failed because house members were more concerned about getting reelected than letting the credit market tank. Bring back term limits.

Posted by: Frank, Ecuador | September 30, 2008 3:47 PM

I believe our leaders and the media are to blame because they both portrayed the bill as a "bailout" of Wall Street fat cats rather than a means by which to inject capitol into the market to get the economy moving, and more likely than not recoup that investment later when housing situation improves and folks begin to buy houses again.

Posted by: hni | September 30, 2008 3:48 PM

The blame does not lie on the republicans or the democrats, but with all of us. No matter what happens with this bill America is going to suffer due to greed. Everyone knows that our stock market is inflated due to people thinking that housing would continue to go up and now with them going down, we must face the disaster. Since Enron was able to get away with falsifying their stock, just about everyone felt that they should do it to in order to get stockholders to give them more money too. The stock market is a lot worse off than anyone expect and no measly $700 billion is going to save it. In the last two years as
companies went out of business, people were being laid off left and right, yet the Dow Jones kept going up. Congress knew the crooked stuff that was going on and that is why the FBI is getting ready to investigate them now. If we give them that money, it will only be a farewell bonus to the rich CEOs as they watch the companies crash. We need to keep that money for FDIC for when people go to the failed banks they will be able to have some money to buy soup, because the country is headed for another Depression.
What the Government should do is provide relief loans at 2% interest to the people in order for them to get pass this crisis instead of rewarding the ones who are responsbile for it in the first place.

Posted by: Greg Mundy | September 30, 2008 3:48 PM

One of the reasons for failure is the hyprocisy of Wall Street free marketers demanding a bailout when they are in a sling. For years we have been preached to about the free market and how the market works out its prblms and now that the market is in trble it wants a bailout. Another reason is that many of us dont trust Bush at all and we are leery of Obama and McCain and most of the rest of the washington insiders. This sale of the bailout by washington and the media reminded me of the run up to the war with Iraq. The media and the democrats on board with the president and no one taking the time to say stop lets look at this closely. Another reason is that there was not one thing put in place to solve the prblm which is homeowners who cant pay their mortgages. If Washington was serious about addressing the economy how can the people who cant pay for their houses get left out of the equation? This was nothing more than spin and fear in an attempt to loot the american public one more time before Bush leaves office. The democrats who followed Bush on this one shld be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: robbep | September 30, 2008 3:48 PM

The bill failed because of the jealousy, envy and petulance of Main Street who were more interested in sticking it to "somebody" than in solving a problem; which in fairness most had not contributed to

Posted by: Stick | September 30, 2008 3:49 PM

For what it is worth - I thought this was a very good piece as posted on the BBC for why the bail-out would not have worked anyway. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7642664.stm

Posted by: misplacedamerican | September 30, 2008 3:51 PM

Nancy Pelosi!! She has shown very poor leadership skill. At the moment of crisis, she gave an extremely
divisive floor speech before the House vote. I am a democrat, and I am ashamed to have her as Speaker of the House.
Democrats trying to blame everything wrong on 'this administration' and take credit for everything right on 'this adminstration'. Aren't Democrats part of 'this adminstration'? After all, aren't Democrats majority of the house.

Posted by: glad the bailout failed | September 30, 2008 3:51 PM

The Democrats who voted against, did so because the bill did not go far enough towards mitigating the plight of homeowners facing foreclosure, because it did not go enough towards holding those who caused the meltdown, accountable and made too many concessions to Republican conservatives' demands.

The Republicans did not vote because George Bush pulled the rug from under their feet by proposing a bill that goes against their conservative dogmas of non-regulation, because they did not believe that the crisis is either real or imminent and because they were spooked by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and other Talk-Radio-Extremists' railings.

And both sides did not quite understand what is in the bill, what is at stake and what is going on.

Posted by: chan Mahanta, st. louis | September 30, 2008 3:52 PM

All in Washington were asleep on their watch. Those asleep on watch includes Democrats, Republicans, Rich, Poor, House, Senate, Executive, and the Cabinet!

Whatever happened to protecting and serving the people?!?!?!

Posted by: Phred | September 30, 2008 3:54 PM

Okay, straight from "Main Street": The bill failed because we Americans called our reps and urged them to vote no. I've never called an elected official in my life until yesterday. The comments that imply the public is too dumb to understand this are offensive. We do not want Congress to spend $700 billion of our money to bail out the financial industry. We do understand credit markets will suffer. We think the correction is necessary; that our country is over-reliant on credit and needs to learn to live within its means to avoid collapse.

Posted by: Barnett | September 30, 2008 3:55 PM

It failed because of the American electorate, from coast to coast. Voters either didn't comprehend or refused to recognize the inextricable economic/financial link between Wall St. and Main St., which was exacerbated by the White House's inept marketing ("Bailout" joins the GOP lexicon of self-imposed and self-defeating terms such as amnesty and privatization). Too many in the electorate didn't know their negative reaction was cutting off their nose to spite their face. The idealogues on the right and left who insisted their dogma was more important than the country's well-being for months/years knew better but didn't care. After all, there's an election in 35 days.

Posted by: BB3 | September 30, 2008 3:56 PM

It failed because it is a bad bill pushed by an imperialist, law flouting presidency to cover the excesses of failed executives at taxpayer expense.

1. Paulson wants to pay for the toxic waste at "stated value", instead of "a marked-to market value". Taxpayers should get a REAL valuation and pay ONLY that. Thus the losses are driven to the bottom line of the banks where they belong, and the toxic waste is properly removed from the system. Executives look like the proper failures theyare and get no bonuses for their lack of performance.

2. The bill does NOTHING to stem the tide of mortgage failures. Legislate that all mortgages are immediately re-set to 6% 30 yr paper, maximum. Then re-value those to market for bank balance sheet accounting.

When the public's financial crisis is addressed the banker's financial crisis can be fixed.


This bill doesn't do that, so it failed.


Posted by: JBE | September 30, 2008 3:58 PM

It failed for the same reason we are in such trouble. Ignorant Republican Ideologs. They spent 75 years trying to prove FDR wrong, and in doing so undid the good and led us back to the same type of "leveraged" excess that led to catastrophe in 1929, instead of the balanced progress Democratic administrations have achieved. Next time some body tells you they are cutting taxes you should know they are not paying their fair share.

Posted by: Nick | September 30, 2008 3:59 PM

I think most reasonable people can agree that some government action is needed to prevent economic collapse; the bill provides adequate funding, safeguards and oversight to ensure that corrective actions are taken.

What the bill fails to do is punish anyone for causing this mess. It doesn’t punish irresponsible homeowners who lied their way into mortgages they couldn’t afford. It doesn’t punish sleazy real estate agents and mortgage brokers who pushed people into balloon payments they could never handle. It doesn’t punish bankers and financiers who bundled these toxic loans into securities that were passed around like a hot potato. And it doesn’t punish the regulators who were asleep at the wheel for the whole fiasco.

Posted by: chris_wiz | September 30, 2008 4:01 PM

It failed for pretty much a combination of the reasons stated above. Which translates into the greatest reason of all in a democracy, the People didn't want the bill and Congress actually listened to the People. If you asked the 75% of callers who opposed the plan why they opposed it, they probably would splinter in 5 different directions, but the bottom line was the People didn't want the bill.

Posted by: genericrepub | September 30, 2008 4:02 PM

Let's see, congressional leaders...
Pelosi - for it
Frank - for it
Boehner - for it
Congress approval - 18%

Administration leaders...
Bush - for it
Paulson - for it
Bush approval - 28%

Do you even need to ask why we're against it?

Posted by: Vern | September 30, 2008 4:02 PM

The market regained almost 500 points today even after the glom and doom predictions. Just goes to show you this is all a big game! Especially for the big cats doing the daily trading. Not one thing changed today from yesterday. The bill still failed, the bailout didnot happen and the markets rebounded. Just leave the market alone, stop these scare tactics and let it correct itself, like it started today. How can you reasonably predict what is going to happen today when Wall Street does not even know. What it shows the American people is Wall Street can manipulate the market any way they want to and there is no rhyme or reason for it. Would someone please give me a credible reason why this big rally today after all the gloom and doom projections? And please don't give me that crap about them thinking our dysfunctional congress is going to pass the bailout because that was the story last week and it did not happen.

Posted by: givemeabreak | September 30, 2008 4:05 PM

Without a provision that allows home owners to re-negotiate their home mortgage rates the systemic issue (home foreclosure and the declining value of loans) will not be addressed and all of the economic peril will continue. It is a philosophy of progressive socialism or federalism that seems to be an anathema to conservatives except when they want to socialize the home mortgage and investment institutions of the wealthy to save their collective asses. The "Free Market" philosophy is sound in general but taken as an unequivocal whole it fails to recognize that greed and malfeasance trump the philosophy of good. De-regulation in general has been a disaster (since the populist bigotry of Ronald Regan)and has become the mantra of the ruling elete.

Posted by: Bruce Parsons Ph.D. | September 30, 2008 4:08 PM

It failed because our Congress is peopled with idiots. I don't know where we got 535 blithering idiots, but as far as I am concerned they are all idiots. Yes, there are plenty of idiots in the administration as well, but Congress and only Congress can appropriate money, so those idiots get the brunt of the blame.

A pox on all their houses.

Posted by: 22046 | September 30, 2008 4:08 PM

The American people hold their principles more tenaciously then do politicians. People are free market advocates. For most, they were not "bailed out" when their economic situation was tough. They want the market to punish those with poor judgment then establish a cleaned out economy.
Politicians have an innate need to do something even if poorly considered. They lose their guiding philosophy easily on the path to action even if that action is ill considered.
The people are right. Let it go, feel the pain, sweep up the mess and move on.

Posted by: Frank Leister | September 30, 2008 4:09 PM

I find it ironic that Repubs blame Nancy Pelosi's criticism of Bush as their reason for voting No, in the process defeating a major Bush initiative. Oh well, no one ever accused them of being logical, just vindictive.

Posted by: eomcmars | September 30, 2008 4:10 PM

It failed because we weren't going to be "railroaded" once more. 9/11 caused us to go to war and lose some liberties...this does not need done RIGHT NOW. Also, I DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING that comes out of the White House or any other leadership in Washington. They've DESTROYED that and will not get it back. The fact that they are trying SO HARD and SO QUICKLY to get this through is a perfect reason to say NO!!!

Posted by: TCal | September 30, 2008 4:10 PM

Lets not forget, this happen because the common people got greedy. Building a house too big for their income. Taking out mortgages that was variable rates and interest only, then when they realized that they couldn't pay for it, they just decide not to pay. I am not saying every foreclosures was for that reason, but 80% if them were. It's not just the bankers fault, but also the homeowers who didn't use the common sense that God blessed each and everyone of us. My neighborhood was full of people like this and my husband and I are paying the price. I am not happy about bailing stupid people out of their troubles, but this isn't just about me or you. It is about this country and every country that invested in America. SO STOP YOUR POINTING FINGERS AND GET THINGS DONE. THE PRESIDENT CAN'T SPEND MONEY WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF BOTH HOUSE. SO EVERYONE IS TO BLAME. GET TO WORK. THAT'S IS WHAT WE (THE TAXPAYER) IS PAYING YOU TO DO.

Posted by: Van | September 30, 2008 4:11 PM

The plan failed, because "Promised Land" vs. "Pawned Land", a 14 year old plan, was circulated in time.

The India stampede underlines the need for Mayor Bloomberg to align with Chairman Admiral Mullen and the Jt. Chieves of Staff at DOD re:

Hope for New Plan Rallies Stock Futures

volley2.ind 4: ?>*:\ ...//2008:09:23:08:18:75*W
#635 of 639: William Hale (hinging0) Tue 30 Sep 2008 (12:31 PM)

[Hey. Hey]

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

Perfect draw a crowd; xref: Lady Di re: start of whose Stewart Little
Internet saga.

Here's a 14 year old plan from the Third Testament to exchange $1 X
10^15 [Hey! Quiet!] of US Treasury Notes for 1% of the Land of the US
(No new debt is needed: it's simply a swap of liquid assets for less
liquid assets)

This use of eminent domain is permitted because the purpose is for the
"highest and best use" of "We the people" by upgrading balkanized
private and state land to "form a more perfect Union" by organizing
Universal Health Care Green Belts modeled on the Smithsonian National
Cultural Mall model, and integrated into the US Interstate [hnk!] Hwy
system, so they can double as Evacuation and Quarantine corridors for
States (and cities) to control your own borders and rights of way (in &
out) in times of national emergency.

Chairman Admiral Mullen and the Jt. Chieves of Staff at DOD were asked
for their opinion days ago, and the US Supreme Court replaced their
wheel chair lift with a marble wheel chair ramp between 1994 and 1996
when this idea of using eminent domain to put $1Q into the hands of
current US land owners was first broached.

Both John and Barack are aware of the idea as is the Bank of America
and US Treasury.

"What would Moses do?" was the question Joel got. Perhaps your 3rd
term announcement is part of the response to that question by Zen,
Judeo, Christian, Islam: the monotheism of the Silk Road".

Truly [crowbar sound dropped on asphalt. Work sounds resume]...

volley2.ind 4: ?>*:\ ...//2008:09:23:08:18:75*W
#636 of 639: William Hale (hinging0) Tue 30 Sep 2008 (12:32 PM)

Market value. Or ten times market value for your land, your choice:
Swedish eminent domain rules.


3. Vermont Plan (Louisiana Purchase 200 [Hnk]...)...........................................................................................

aka, "Louisiana Purchase 2008" - an order for the States to nominate, and for the US Treasury to buy, land, and thereby create demand for land and housing and mortgages via the sellers who now become buyers" [[Rhnn.... (motorcycle revs 06:23)]]

4. WARANTZ Plan....................................................................................................................................................

5. Creation of an "American League" Federal Reserve Independent of and Equal to the current "National League" [breeze 05:29]...........................................................................................................................................

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2008 4:12 PM

Obama voted "Present". He did absolutely nothing. He's a talker not a doer. He gives a great speach but is short on action. McCain probably lost the election because he TRIED to rally support and failed. Obama took a pass.

Posted by: DfromDixie | September 30, 2008 4:13 PM

I believe the bill failed in part because the Republicans could not get enough votes and in part because they want to set up a situation where McCain can be a hero and save the day.

Posted by: Elizabeth | September 30, 2008 4:13 PM

Two reasons: 1) the Bush Administration and John McCain have lost credibility within their own party and 2) the rigid, antiquated, free-market philosophy of House Republicans.

Posted by: maxfli | September 30, 2008 4:13 PM

It failed because the politicans were inundated with messages from an angry citizenry. It is condescending to assume it "wasn't sold" and that Main Street didn't understand the seriousness of the situation. In fact, Main Street understands and is so thoroughly disgusted with Washington (and Wall Street - an extension of Washington) that, for a short time at least, we are willing to suffer if it means they suffer too. I long to see them all packing up their desks, at the unemployment office and every single incumbent up in Walsilla vying for dog catcher.

Posted by: Janet, El Paso, Texas | September 30, 2008 4:15 PM

Good the bill needed to fail. It was poorly written, gave too much power to the Executive Branch, too expensive, and typical panic, shock and awe politics. Another bill is needed and will pass. One that doesn't bail out the Wall Street greed mongers.

We'll be fine.

I am proud of the republicans and democrats that voted against that bill. Now a new one will be passed that will be better for the economy and the world economy without giving the greedy robber barons of Wall Street and this Administration too much power. Obama was right - hold still wait, another bill will be passed it is part of the process.

Lefty, liberal, and loving those republicans that voted against it! And as always my Dems too.

Posted by: Linda | September 30, 2008 4:15 PM

Wrong Name
Rename the bill to the American Taxpayer Credit Stabilization Act of 2008

Posted by: John C | September 30, 2008 4:19 PM

Atten: Dan Eggan. Re: Your column of 9-30-08. The political and financial experts, currently consuming enlightening potions at Hogans Bar and Grill, have decided that during their worst moments, at closing time, they have more common sense than
the Whole U.S. House.They would no more approve the Bail out package than jump off of a Cliff. Cyrano.

Posted by: Kenneth B. Smith | September 30, 2008 4:20 PM




Posted by: DK KANSAS | September 30, 2008 4:21 PM

The structure of the deal is inadequate in far too many ways for this Democrat.
First, going through with the original proposal took the power of the Election out of the hands of voters.
Very poor timing for something like this to occur.
Second, idealogues both left and right can see the internal failings of the plan.
Third, nothing so serious should be rushed, and a stop gap measure of throwing even 150 Billion Dollars is sufficient to revive the economy's pump for the short term.
Then the Partys can seek the approval of their plans for the future via each Congressional Election, and that format will trickle up to the Presidential race.
The time has come for the competing interests within the USA become more aware of the needs of other Americans.
Those who, benefitted from Reagan Policy,
eight years Reagan himself and watched as the hubris built during the first Bush term , only, to be cleaned up some by the Centerist Democrat Bill Clinton, who was connected to a Republican Majority Congress for 6 of his years, gleefully put their Partisanship and Ideological machine in fast forward from 2001 until 2006 when the trainwreck that is our economy began to unravel, and Democrats weakly took control of Congress slowing the runaway ideology of the Bushies, now watch, in shock and awe, as the Bush reign ends so impotently that they cannot convince a majority in Congress to vote for their bailout.
My expectation is that this nation will not vote to continue failed Republican policy, either the Wall Street kind, or the Conservative Ideologue branch, as we have seen for the past 8 years, or more, they are a toxic combination of greed and free market fantasy.

Posted by: wmc418 | September 30, 2008 4:23 PM

The bailout failed because the credit markets are complicated, too complicated for the average citizen to understand how they affect his life, and too complicated for the rank and file politician to know how they affect the nation's economy

Posted by: Taylorpad | September 30, 2008 4:24 PM

This thing failed because those people who cried DIRE! FIRE! DIRE! FIRE! were playing with their own matches.

Whenever the tyranny of the urgent invades the same space as breathing and common sense, we all should take pause.

I learned this from a Timeshare salesman.

It cost me a lot of money to get my money back.

Posted by: dano | September 30, 2008 4:26 PM

This is a crisis of trust and confidence.

The Emperor has no cloths.

The public spotted the man behind the curtain.

They found out we are not in Kansas anymore.

Even if they won't admit it, the public found out that everything they know is wrong.

No confidence or trust in Bush or his minions like Paulson.
No confidence or trust in the Republicans.
No confidence or trust in the Democrats.
No confidence or trust in Wall Street.
No confidence or trust in financial systems.
No confidence or trust in enforcement.
No confidence or trust in the media or press.
No confidence or trust in McCain.
No confidence or trust in Obama.

The only thing keeping the wheels on the wagon is hope.

Trust is long gone.

When ignorance becomes a valued quality in any society, competence, confidence and trust are the first victims.

Posted by: plaza04433 | September 30, 2008 4:38 PM

interesting that dfromdixie claims that Obama voted "present" when, of course, anyone with half a brain would know that no senator, including Obama or McCain, has a vote in the House. just typical of the tripe coming from the right-wingnuts.

Posted by: eomcmars | September 30, 2008 4:39 PM

anyone in the market should know that it is risky
if you take a risk you can lose money
the country elected bush twice and allowed him free reign
do not cry over it now and expect sympathy
not now or ever
kathy and mike torpey
pitman new jersey

Posted by: kathy torpey | September 30, 2008 4:45 PM

With elections only weeks away, failure of the House to pass the Rescue Bill was to be expected. Democrats were not about to pass the bill without substantial support from Republicans and reap the wrath of their constituents while the Republicans would blame the Democrats for the bill’s passage.

The votes promised by House Republicans did not materialize when the time came to be counted. It was just another Republican gimmick that promised their votes but never intended to deliver hoping instead to wait for the Democrat vote count to reach a majority necessary for passage with a minimum of Republican votes. The twelve Republicans who changed their minds had intended to do so from the very start.

The Republican made financial crisis will probably get worse as the president’s party is frantically trying to pin the blame on the Democrats. Nice try MacCain

Posted by: Andrew H | September 30, 2008 4:51 PM

With elections only weeks away, failure of the House to pass the Rescue Bill was to be expected. Democrats were not about to pass the bill without substantial support from Republicans and reap the wrath of their constituents while the Republicans would blame the Democrats for the bill’s passage.

The votes promised by House Republicans did not materialize when the time came to be counted. It was just another Republican gimmick that promised their votes but never intended to deliver hoping instead to wait for the Democrat vote count to reach a majority necessary for passage with a minimum of Republican votes. The twelve Republicans who changed their minds had intended to do so from the very start.

This Republican made financial crisis will probably get worse as the president’s party is frantically trying to pin the blame on the Democrats. Nice try MacCain.

Posted by: Andew H | September 30, 2008 4:53 PM

It failed because the leaders - Paulson, Bernake, Bush, Cheney, Pelosi, etc did not understand basic politics. We are a democracy, and Congress represents the people. The Executive has limits on its authority. Beyond those limits, the people (as represented by Congress) must be convinced of the proposal.

What we got was a single proposal, presented as take it or leave it because we have an emergency. That is not how Congress works, and its politics 101 that you don't present stuff to the people that way.

You can "sell" proposals by discussing all the options and providing some basis for the option you think best. Nobody heard any numbers or made a logical presentation of why some of the items were written the way they were. For example, the choice of buying mortgage-based securities rather than providing loans secured by shares. The mechanism for how the securities would be bought is not even discussed.

To make things worse, the proposal started with no oversight and no accountability. Congress had to craft in those terms. That is a rotten way to develop trust.

The main issue I have been seeing is the apparent lack of accountability for those who took the risks. Since roughly 90% of the wealth is in 10% of the population, Main Street has no risk turning down a proposal that is not requiring the 10%'ers to be responsible for 90% of the problem. Any proposal that does not hold the risk takers liable is DOA.

One point that occurs to me is: why is the proposal extending past the end of this year? Instead of a $700B package at a rate of $50B per month, do $200B for the next 4 months and let the next President propose his own solution after that.

I don't see any proposal being approved after this stupid first attempt. To get assent, you must build trust and provide good reasoning. Not going to get there from here.

Posted by: Will Hettchen | September 30, 2008 5:15 PM

I'd like to address the comments that all the foreclosures are a result of people living above their means.
In 2005, my husband and I bought our first house - I was 8 months pregnant and we were desperate to close a deal. We agreed on a FIXED rate mortage; the mortgage company rep tried to (unsuccessfully) convince us what a "great deal" an ARM would be. We refused. Lo and behold on the day we went to sign our mortgage loan the paperwork mysteriously had "ARM" on it. This losn was through Countrywide (big surprise) which has now been taken over the BoA. We refused to sign. They insisted we should go ahead and sign and we could refinance at a fixed rate later since failure to sign right that minute would mean it would take several more days (we had already scheduled movers, etc) to write up another mortgage. We told them too bad - redo the paperwork or we walk. Even as dire as the situation was, they realized we were serious and changed the paperwork while we waited. Ever since then I have watched the news on how many people are struggling to pay their mortgage because of the ARM; how many were duped into signing an ARM? Now, with that said, since this is the root cause of our financial crisis, I think we need a bill to address that - not the greed from these companies that tricked hard working Americans into bad credit. Further, I believe there should be a federal investigation into these mortgage companies that have so many foreclosures as well as prosecuting those who encouraged loans they knew could never be met. Now, I do realize there are people living above their means, but it looks like the guys at Wall Street, the banks and mortgage companies are just as guilty. No one bails us out - we have to file for bankruptcy and ruin our credit when we overextend and cannot pay - why shouldn't the same rule apply to Wall Street? Just my two cents.

Posted by: DM | September 30, 2008 5:24 PM

If the US Treasury is to become a finance company, at least make failing companies pay the usual higher interest rates offered high credit risks and charge points and PMI and all that other sh*t - not to be punitive, but to be fair to our children and grandchildren who depend on us to make a wise loan.

Though we're all in this together, so to speak, the returns for our kids on each of our tax investments stand to be hugely unequal. Trickle down is wholly discredited now.

Posted by: jhbyer | September 30, 2008 5:31 PM

It failed because we have a nation that is populated by a great number of idiots with a herd mentality that understand nothing about the financial world. They have no clue or don't want to believe that their Main Street world is tied greatly to the global equity and credit markets, whether they like it or understand it. Wake up people. Just because you live in SmallTown USA doesn't insulate you from the world. If large banks and financial institutions in the US and across the world won't lend to each other, then you and your business won't get credit either. Our Economy stops. People lose jobs. Businesses go bankrupt. Combine that idiocy with zealot members of Congress of both parties that are supposed to lead this nation, but subsumed that role to the role of getting re-elected because they got a ton of e-mail from the know-nothings, and you have the reason for the failure of this bill.

Posted by: snark | September 30, 2008 5:33 PM

The Bushies were wrong to threaten disaster, even if sincere, because it was bound to cause the sell-off that it did on Wall St. Indeed, it was a form of blackmail, as they surely knew that would happen. Worst administration ever.

Posted by: jhbyer | September 30, 2008 5:48 PM

Inadequate leadership
Inadequate courage
Inadequate honesty
Inadequate education of the public
Inadequate ability to share responsibility and accept blame
Inadequate respect for political and legislative processes
Inadequate balance between regulation and free markets
Inadequate regulation for 21st C global economy
Inadequate attention paid to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Inadequate rules regarding mortgage eligibility
Inadequate rules regarding lender and broker behavior
Inadequate commitment to plan and manage personal finances

Where are the grown-ups and where are the statesmen? This is a greater good moment for everyone.

Posted by: Anne | September 30, 2008 6:18 PM

Its Obama's leadership failure he claims too much about working across the Aisle. But he never hesitates to blame Bush and GOP for everything. From three to 110 pages bill grow under Democrats leader ship, Even their leader do not want McCain to come to Washington, recall Reed's statement. They demand cooperation from each other, you cannot demand cooperation from anyone, only request it.

Posted by: sudhirprannath | September 30, 2008 6:21 PM

The failure to accurately describe the bill by members of congress made passage difficult. B. Frank and N Pelosi do not understand -after 50+ yrs of combined experience-both seemed to be clueless! the public needs to see indictments-as well as gifts of public funds to officials who failed to protect those they were sworn to protect!

Posted by: James metcalf | September 30, 2008 8:40 PM

The failure to accurately describe the bill by members of congress made passage difficult. B. Frank and N Pelosi do not understand -after 50+ yrs of combined experience-both seemed to be clueless! the public needs to see indictments-as well as gifts of public funds to officials who failed to protect those they were sworn to protect!

Posted by: James Metcalf | September 30, 2008 8:40 PM

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